Croatia: Revisionism As Correction Of Recorded History

This first-ever report rating individual European Union countries on how they face up their Holocaust pasts was published on January 25, 2019 to coincide with UN Holocaust Remembrance Day. Researchers from Yale and Grinnell Colleges travelled throughout Europe to conduct the research. Representatives from the European Union of Progressive Judaism (EUPJ) have endorsed their work.

The fact that this Report omits to present any research on the topic relating to the candidate countries on the path to becoming EU member countries, such as Serbia, is quite a concern. One would expect that Serbia, which was among the first to declare itself “Judenfrei” (Jew-free) in Europe early 1942, would feature in this Report. But expectation for justice for all Holocaust victims in Europe is one thing and reality – another. Sadly.

The Key findings in the Report are as follows:

● Many European Union governments are rehabilitating World War II collaborators and war criminals while minimising their own guilt in the attempted extermination of Jews.

● Revisionism is worst in new Central European members – Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Lithuania.

● But not all Central Europeans are moving in the wrong direction: two exemplary countries living up to their tragic histories are the Czech Republic and Romania. The Romanian model of appointing an independent commission to study the Holocaust should be duplicated.

● West European countries are not free from infection – Italy, in particular, needs to improve.

● In the west, Austria has made a remarkable turn-around while France stands out for its progress in accepting responsibility for the Vichy collaborationist government.

● Instead of protesting revisionist excesses, Israel supports many of the nationalist and revisionist governments.

As the world marks the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, European governments are rehabilitating World War II collaborators and war criminals while minimising their own guilt in the attempted extermination of Jews.

This Holocaust Remembrance Project finds that Hungary, Poland, Croatia, and the Baltics are the worst offenders. Driven by feelings of victimhood and fears of accepting refugees, and often run by nationalist autocratic governments, these countries have received red cards for revisionism…

Revisionism is often accompanied by a revival of Nazi-inspired hate speech. Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban has described the arrival of asylum seekers in Europe as ‘a poison’, saying his country did not want or need ‘a single migrant’. Jaroslaw Kaczyński, head of Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party, has warned that migrants are ‘parasites’ that carry ‘very dangerous diseases long absent from Europe’. In the same vein, French right-wing extremist Marine Le Pen called for the ‘eradication of bacterial immigration’, proclaiming that immigration was causing an ‘alarming presence of contagious diseases’ in France. In his Mein Kampf, Hitler repeatedly refers to Jews as parasites,” 
says the Report.

Comparing today’s politicians’ views regarding mass migration into Europe to Adolf Hitler’s views, as this Report does, is in my view utterly irresponsible and wickedly conniving.

Letting that question alone for now and turning our attention to the term of “historical revisionism” we so frequently find in today’s world, we should all know that history is, in fact, never fixed or objective, but always a living document — one written by those who have or had power, who have access to the telling because the powers that be allow them that access.

Reading between the lines of the text, and the lines of the text, it would seem the authors of this Report fall among traditionalists of this world who believe that history is objective and once anyone seeks to better understand a person or the narratives of the past, those traditionalists shout “revisionism,” as if that new understanding (even new factual finding that contradicts recorded history) is something to be shunned.

Indeed, when it comes to Croatia and its WWII history regarding the numbers of victims of the Holocaust, all attempts at researching the truth, the facts via accessible archival materials, have sadly been branded revisionism. Needless to say, representatives of the Simon Wiesenthal Centres such as Efraim Zuroff, have and still hold the banner for such branding.

That any history written by the elite or powerful ones is objective and apolitical is a naïve but dangerous position; dangerous because it denies all victims justice and due recognition.

Controversy swirls over the wartime role of the Roman Catholic Church. The Archbishop of Zagreb Aloysius Stepinac has been accused of failing to condemn the Ustaša, yet at the same time credited with thousands of Serbs and Jews. The Church beatified him in 1998. Recent research by historians Robin Harris and Esther Gitman Stepinac show Stepinac as anti-Ustaša, a vocal critic of Ustaša racial theories, and a thorn at Pavelic’s side… Much of the issues in the media (in Croatia) revolve around Jasenovac and often reflect problematic revisionist thinking. After film director Jakov Sedlar created a revisionist documentary on Jasenovac in April 4,2016, Croatian state television HRT hosted Sedlar and did not challenge his claims,” says the Report.

Whether the Report omits to mention research on Jasenovac camp deaths of Igor Vukic and Roman Leljak, who use archival documentary evidence that significantly refutes the numbers of victims at WWII Jasenovac camp, on purpose in order to provide yet another lifeline to the unjust term of “revisionism” is a matter for each Report reader’s consideration. Notwithstanding, one cannot remain blind to facts; one can mar them for political gain, though.

One is compelled to conclude that such recent research and findings are labelled in this Report as “extreme sensitivity” rather than pinning the findings of such research as credible and worth pursuing (for historical truth) to the body of this Report. “Extreme sensitivity continues around the numbers of those murdered at the Jasenovac Concentration Camp. Serbs estimate 700,000 victims. More recent and objective findings, however, such as those of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, puts the number between 77,000 and 100,000. The numbers remain unclear and the subject of a genuine detect story. An independent commission, similar to Romania’s Weisel Commission, would help clarify,” says the Report.

Since the Report goes on to give some kind of credibility to what Serbs claim as estimates it is all the more incredulous and tendentious that the Report fails to address those claims further (as being utterly false or unfounded on facts). Indeed, the Report fails to address the Holocaust in WWII Serbia, which saw 94% of Serbia’s Jews exterminated by May 1942 at this time when Serbia is on the path to the EU membership and the authors of this Report obviously consider important for the EU as to which country in Europe is doing what regarding WWII Holocaust.

This kind of reporting or writing perfectly captures the reality of all history.

The great irony of slurring history with “revisionism” is that history as a living document should be a constant act of retelling history in an effort to make the story clearer, more accurate; revisionism is  not an erasing of history but a correction of the wrong presented in “officially” recorded history. A revised view of history allows us to acknowledge what is not debatable  ― many with power over Croatia in the past (Communists and their subscribers), were racists  ― and is essential for helping us resolve what is debatable (and the numbers of the so-called WWII Ustashe victims  have been the subject of painful debates, mere estimates dubbed as facts, and politically-driven intolerance),  whether or not we correct the victim figures, rename buildings/institutions or dismantle monuments.

There’s an old saying that time is the enemy of memory and ignorance is the enemy of knowledge. When the established knowledge based on estimates and other charades that misrepresent the truth are challenged by new findings then ignorance thrives and memories of victims often become banal or fade. It would seem that the usage of the negatively connoted concept of revisionism to characterise fact-finding attempts when it comes to history that includes the Holocaust contributes significantly to the views we come across throughout the world that the world is forgetting the horrors of the Holocaust. One could argue that if attempts to untangle the truth from the lies when it comes to the number of Jews that perished in the Holocaust are labelled as unwelcome revisionism – i.e. denial of the Holocaust – then indeed memory for even the recorded history must suffer; because doubt in the truthfulness of that recorded memory inevitably develops with every new factual finding or every attempt to correct historical records written by those in power.

We can remember those who perished and were murdered without talking about numbers! We can remember the Holocaust human catastrophe and pay respect to those who suffered without trying to embellish it with numbers that are subject to vigorous debates and rows. A human catastrophe is a catastrophe regardless of the number of victims it takes or took with it.

Memory is central to a nation’s historical and moral self-understanding. When unsafe historical records written by Yugoslav communists in the case of Croatia shape memory, then it is the duty of every Croat to ensure that history is corrected, otherwise the nation staggers on false and illusory ground which gives little if any justice to the actual victims of past totalitarian regimes. Ina Vukic

Buried Alive – Abyss of Communist Crimes

The enormity of communist crimes against Croatian people, part of the former Yugoslavia (WWII and post-WWII), is staggering, overwhelming, astonishing… utterly cruel and bestial. These crimes on the whole still go unpunished, ignored and covered up or justified particularly through today’s so-called antifascists labeling all attempts to muster up justice for the victims of communist crimes as ‘neofascism’!

Roman Leljak’s book “Huda Jama” (Huda Pit) about which I have written before has now been released in English. Its title is “Buried Alive – Mass Killings of POWs and Civilians by Tito’s Partisans” and it can be purchased online via several leading online bookstores.

In the Foreword of the book Roman Leljak writes:

“My research for this book started in the spring of 1989. When I look back on that period of my life now I cannot help but deeply appreciate Descartes’ maxim: ‘I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am’. Precious few people on the planet today would dare dispute the veracity of the proposition. In that sense I have to admit that until that fateful year of 1989 I had been living in ignorance. The Communist educational system was based on parroting state propaganda. I was not allowed to think. The system needed to produce intellectually challenged people in order to survive. Many of us remember those days well. The teacher would always start the class with the words: ‘Long live Yugoslavia.’ We would have to readily reply with: ‘With Tito forward!’ Many times I heard my father complain, ‘This country is slowly but surely destroying itself. We have to travel to Italy and Austria – countries where rotten capitalism rules – to buy clothes and fruit.’ I did not exactly understand what he was saying. Maybe I was too much of a coward to understand.

Dear reader! This is an expanded edition of the book I wrote back in 1989. It was published that same year in Yugoslavia in Slovenian. That year I started my collaboration with Janez Jansa, Igor Bavcar and many others who would later play an instrumental part in achieving independence for Slovenia.

I finished my first book, titled Alone against the World in the late ‘8os. At that time Janez Jansa was the editor in chief of the Znanost (Science) magazine and he published my book. The book deals with the methods, techniques and tactics used by Yugoslav Military Intelligence. In 1990 the book was translated into Croatian. Unfortunately, and in a sense inexplicably, it did not draw a lot of attention in Croatia. In Slovenia, on the other hand, the book is considered an important work of history, especially in the context of theTen-Day War.

Roman Leljak

I was born in the Croatian Zagorje region. My father Rudolf worked in the city of Krapina as a photographer and my mother Milica Belosevic worked in the Zutica textile factory. In 1964 my father got a job in the Ingrad construction company in Celje and we relocated to Slovenia. I was six months old at the time. We lived in the village of Prosenisko, near the town of Teharje. One spring day in 1989, in front of St. Anne’s Church in Teharje, I read again, mesmerized by the words, Ivanka Skrabec’s letter:

In a few hours my life will end.Oh dear God! You know I die innocent, just like your Son. My child, my gentle angel. How I long to see your face, graced with a smile, cheering me up and taking all the worries away! Oh my child, my gentle white flowers! I will not live to see your tiny white hands. I will not live to feel your tender embrace. I will never pull you close to my bosom, let you feel my heartbeat, even though you are so close, so very close to me. Never, my sweet child! Down yonder, in the darkforest’s grasp, we’ll will adorn our eternal home.

My lips will never sing a soft lullaby to you. I will be your cradle, your bed, but oh so cold and hard. The branches above us will croon you a lullaby. Sleep now, sleep tight my child! You are close to my loving, ever loving heart. I love you dearly but I’m helpless, I cannot save you from death, my child, I cannot save you. You just sleep tight now my angel! You cannot know the horror of what awaits us. We’ll die together, Ill be in your thoughts when the moment comes, to soothe you. And then our pain and suffering will cease, our struggle will end. We’ll journey to God together. When I felt you for the first time I sensed your unease. I dreamed of bringing you into God’s presence for the first time, I dreamed of your tiny head wet with baptismal water. But, now, sweet child, it will be my blood pouring down your forehead. With your mother’s blood, pulsing with love, you’ll be baptized. I watched you bow before Christ in the Eucharist.My body will be a ciborium soon. You, my child, will be a host in it. From the ciborium a loving hand will pluck you and embed you in its sacred heart…

Then, my child, I will see you for the first time.My gentle angel! There I will see your face. There, you’ll see your mother for the first time and learn your first word: ‘Mama!’

Ivanka Skrabec was born in 1915 in the village of Hrovaci, near the town of Ribnica. Her father was Stanislav Skrabec (January 7, 1844 – October 6, 1918), a renowned Franciscan monk and a linguist specialized in the Slovenian language. In the fall of 1939 Ivanka started working as a teacher in the village of Sodraiica. The children took to her right away. She was selfless, devoted to her profession and always placed the interest of the children before everything. If some of the children could not attend school or were sick, she would go to their houses and teach them there. The children’s parents adored her and respected her for her unflinching devotion to the children.

Some remains of female victims
of communist crimes at Huda Pit

On the evening of May 28, 1942, the Partisans arrested Ivanka. They beat her up badly and then ceremoniously marched her to the village square where she was publically interrogated by a number of Commissars. The Commissars berated her for teaching her pupils that war was evil and accused her of not expressing support for the Communist movement. They told her that one of her crimes was the fact that she was married to France Novak, who had been conscripted into the Slovene Home Guard. As such he was an enemy of the revolution. The Commissars informed her that her husband had been sentenced to death in absentia by a Communist court and wanted to know his whereabouts. The aim of the Partisans was to publically mock and humiliate Ivanka.
After the interrogation and public humiliation the Commissars led Ivanka to her home. They placed her under house arrest and posted guards around the house. A bounty of 5,000 Italian Lire was put on her husband’s head.

On June 3, 1942, a number of Partisans came to Ivanka’s house. They beat her with such force that her blood splattered the walls of the room. Then the Partisans dragged her, all bloody and bruised, to their camp. Ivanka would never set foot into her house again.
The executioners led Ivanka to a clearing in the forest. They gave her a shovel and ordered her to dig her own grave. She begged them to let her live until her baby was born. The unborn baby was her joy: she loved her husband very much and the couple had planned to lavish the baby with a lot of love and affection. Her tormentors ignored her desperate pleas for the life of her child. They told her to shut up, stop crying and keep digging.
When she had dug the grave the Partisans strangled her. It was an act of pure bloodthirsty sadism. The degenerate commander of the execution party exclaimed, ‘This cunt is not worth a bullet!’ The killers threw Ivanka into the hole, placed her coat over her dead body and filled the hole again with the upturned soil.
Ivanka was dead. She died at the hands of ‘national liberators’.

Her body was found on August 4, 1942. The owner of that plot of land saw a piece of clothing protruding from the turf. After a few minutes of digging he saw Ivanka’s mutilated body. In the breast pocket of her blouse he found a pen and a half destroyed letter. Ivanka, knowing that the Partisans were going to kill her, had written that letter in her room. She had written it to her unborn baby. The letter reveals her anguish of knowing that her unborn child was going to be murdered. The letter is a shocking testimony to man’s cruelty to man and all people of good will ought to read it. All people with murder in their hearts should also read it because the letter possesses the power to cure those hearts, or at least prevent them from following Cain’s example.

When I read Ivanka’s letter I knew I would never be afraid to think for myself and challenge the official, Communist version of history. I started my research. At that time archival material was out of bounds. It was too dangerous for the Yugoslav authorities to allow the general public access to the documents stored in the archives because all the documents pertaining to WWII and Communist rule in general clearly reveal the criminality of the Communist regime. I had to rely on witness accounts. I simply went from door to door, asking questions. Most people, after hearing my questions and the purpose behind them, went pale and shut the door in my face. Others entreated me not to ask them such questions. Some threatened to report me to the police. I was actually arrested, in LaSko, in front of the entrance to the Huda Jama mine. I spent that night in a cell in the police station in LaSko. I was not intimidated. The very next morning I continued exploring the area and asking questions.

I decided to modify my strategy a bit. I remembered many of my childhood friends from the near-by village of Store. I had gone to primary school there and everybody in the village knew me. I asked my childhood friends to talk to their parents and grandparents about what had happened in the area after the end of WWII. The next day they kindly asked me not to speak to them ever again. I was not discouraged though. I persevered in my quest. In the fall of that year my father and I discovered human bones, buried no more than 20 centimeters underground, in Kosnica. We took a picture of the bones. That picture is the first picture ever taken of the remains of victims of Communist crimes in the area…

Thank you, St. Anne, for the courage you have given me. Thank you, Ivanka Skrabec.Thank you, unborn child.

The Way of the Cross at St. Anne’s Church would today only be known to Celje’s pilgrims had it not been for the gruesome events that happened there after the end of WWII – when brother attacked brother – and when Cain’s sin marked our people with bitterness and etched itself forever into our history): A few hundred meters below the Way of the Cross the Partisans built a concentration camp for “enemies of the revolution” in May 1945. Most captives did not make out of the camp alive and in that sense the Way of the Cross became their Calvary. Communism, just like Nazism, was predicated on killing its enemies. The enemies were occasionally real, frequently imagined. The Partisans brutally tortured and killed a large number of people in the camp. The survivors recounted how they, while being tortured, heard the tolling of the church’s bell and found solace in the chimes. Older villagers remember hearing loud prayers emanating from the camp at night.
It took 20 years for the truth about Huda Jama to become known. The second part of the book describes how we, over the course of several months, day in and day out, dug through the pits. In 2009 Huda Jama finally revealed the whole truth in all its gory details. Marko Strovs played a pivotal role in the process. I used his text for that portion of the book.

In the last part of the book I give the names of those responsible for the massacre in Huda Jama. The fact that the perpetrators of the atrocity have not been called to account for their crimes clearly shows that we are not a nation yet, that we do not deserve a state of our own. We have not even given a proper and dignified burial to the victims in Huda Jama.
No one has yet been formally accused of the crimes I describe in my book. Most of the perpetrators are old men today, living comfortably on their Veteran’s pensions. Not only did the Communists bestially tortured and murdered the victims, they also confiscated their property and moved into the victims’ homes. It is important to note that Veteran’s pensions are among the highest in the pension scheme.
Dear Croatians, wherever in the world this book may find you! Dear people of good will everywhere! After 70 years we are still fighting for the truth. Please, let us persevere in this fight. God is on our side. We owe it to our children…”

Among the people I have so far met in my life who touched me with the fresh and delightful air of truth, however gruesome and disturbing the content of that truth may be, and groundbreaking persistence for good, is Roman Leljak. Having attended a number of his talks and book promotions on facts of communist crimes, I am left both gratefully delighted and painfully shattered – delighted that the truth is being exposed, shattered that it has not yet brought full justice for the victims of communist crimes. The battle for truth and justice continues…and in the meantime, I trust many will obtain and read Roman Leljak’s book “Buried Alive” and join the battle … Ina Vukic


Roman Leljak and Ina Vukic, 2017

No Fading Of Memory For Communist Crimes

Roman Leljak
Photo: Ina Vukic

To not give due attention to communist crimes in former Yugoslavia during and post-WWII is as evil as committing them. According to Rudolph J. Rummel – a US based world authority on communist crimes, mass murders committed in the name of the state, the body count attributed to communist Yugoslavia mass murders goes beyond the number of 1,072,000 between 1945 and 1992. Hundreds of thousands of these bodies are Croatian; hundreds of thousands of mass graves unearthed since the end of Croatia’s war of independence of early 1990’s. The search and unearthing of mass graves continues to this day and the whole ugly truth of communist crimes may never be uncovered. The latter is particularly relevant as the political and governing elite in Croatia continue hampering research into communist crimes and give insignificant, if any, financial support for the pursuit of this ugly truth. A great deal of those are either themselves former communist operatives or have a family member who was.

Roman Leljak, based in Slovenia but also in Croatia for the purposes of research and drawing public attention to the communist crimes, has worked for a long time to bring the calamity of communist crimes to wider public attention as well as supporting those who are also still trying to uncover the full facts about the many massacres of Croats and other former Yugoslavia nationals. The period his research focuses on is particularly the one immediately after the end of WWII when the British Army’s forced repatriation to Josip Broz Tito’s communist Yugoslavia from Austria of people who were in flight from communist Yugoslavia sent the forcefully repatriated into quick death, murdered by Tito’s communists (Partisans).

The killings, that mostly occurred within hours or days upon reaching Slovenia from Austria were done with massive disorder, a massive wickedness, massive and vicious evil – a massive sadness and anguish for the victims and their families as well as for the Croatian nation. To the communists the people murdered as well as those brutally oppressed because they did not subscribe to communism in the decades that followed under the communist totalitarian regime had no intrinsic worth and had to be destroyed one way or another. The result had been the mass elimination of people who thought differently, or just were in the way. The communists had had various options for disposing of so many bodies. Throwing them into karst rock crevasses, burying them in mining tunnels or antitank trenches, or digging large pits deep in the forests.

One particularly appalling killing site was the St. Barbara Tunnel near Huda Jama, where meticulous efforts to cover up the crime afterward were successful for over 60 years. The grim remains of multitudes of victims were uncovered only in 2008. In April 2017 I posted a Roman Leljak article on communist crimes over Croats and others he is researching in Slovenia and the Australian public had the opportunity to hear him speak in various places during this current week. The facts Leljak uncovers are chilling to the core. The communist brutality, as researched archive material show, defines the darkest and the most evil of places human beings can occupy.

Among fourteen Roman Leljak’s publications is the book “Huda Pit – the strictly guarded secret”, compilations of Yugoslav Secret Service documents, etc. and his thorough research into communist crimes continues.

One cannot but admire Leljak who is faced with personal sacrifices in order to bring to the world the full truth of communist atrocities against innocent people. Leljak, like many other scientists and historians, in the pursuit of absolute truth have on the main been left to themselves and their personal know-how and connections and this, in particular, evidences the fact that corrupt communist morality still controls the runes that mark official history in Croatia, Slovenia and other former Yugoslavia states.

We cannot build modern Croatia (modern Europe, modern world) upon the shifting sands of deliberate historical lies and cover-ups. Croatia itself, while marking commemorations to victims of communist crimes, is unable to come to terms with what happened during the reign of the communist totalitarian regime. Because these communist massacres were on such an enormous scale, it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that most Croatians now alive will have some connection through friends or family to either the victims of these massacres or those who ordered and committed them.

This is a heavy psychological burden for the whole country to carry and it must be downloaded into admission of guilt and prosecution not only of the communist totalitarian regime but also of individuals who took part in these atrocities against humanity. Talking about justice for the victims of communist crimes in Croatia is a difficult pursuit entered into by justice-conscious individuals who are often ridiculed and publicly ostracised by former communists. There has been no high-level support even for research let alone talking about justice for the victims and their families. Communist Yugoslavia symbols are still freely displayed and flaunted at every opportunity that arises and especially in those where resistance to the historical truth is on someone’s agenda. Croatia’s former communist operatives and their prominent younger family members present themselves as respectable members of European social democracy, tiptoeing steadily away from the disagreeable issues of communist crimes and hoping that memory of them simply fades away.

Charles Billich
Photo: Ina Vukic

It is for those who truly stick their neck out for humanity to turn the numbers of communist crimes victims back into people. If that cannot be done then Josip Broz Tito and the communists, not the defenders who fought in Croatia’s Homeland War for independence from communism, have shaped not only Croatia but humanity as well! And this unacceptable eventuality will ripple its dark effects beyond Croatia’s borders.

A few days ago I had an opportunity of discussing communist crimes in Croatia with Charles Billich, the Australia based world-renowned artist of Croatian descent who is planning on creating a monument of truth in Croatia dedicated to victims of communist crimes and of Croatia’s Homeland War. Billich told me how he lost twelve members from his family to communist crimes, when he was a child living in communist Yugoslavia. Exposed to communist crimes at an early age he remembers the profound anguish felt at the brutal loss of uncles, aunties, cousins…some being thrown alive into “foibe” (existing bottomless karst sinkholes on dormant volcanic land)… he remembers the people calling the mass killers bandits and that slowly it was revealed they were Partisans… Tito was like Stalin, a common killer, said Billich. Ina Vukic


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